Remembering Dorothy Hayes

Dorothy Hayes joined a newly formed Peace Arch Chorus in 1975 and remained a member for over 40 years. Recently, the chorus awarded Dorothy a lifetime membership. This is especially remarkable because she was a retiree when she joined! Born in 1910, Dorothy lived until just before her 107th birthday.

Dorothy believed the challenges of part singing and sight reading helped her keep young and maintained that taking a lively interest in life is important for everyone.

“You’ve got to keep active and participate,” she said. “You have to be part of things - that’s how you get to know people. I don’t want to sit and watch TV all the time.”

“There are so many Dorothy stories,” current Peace Arch Chorus Team Leader Karen Dinwoodie tells us. “She was extremely kind and thoughtful and never missed an occasion she thought deserved a card. Whether it was congratulating a new member on passing their audition or someone becoming a grandmother, a card fromDorothy was sure to be received.”  

One of the highlights of Dorothy’s 90s decade was a trip to Toronto to see Niagara Falls and attend a North Metro Chorus performance. Dorothy was in awe of June Dale and her achievements with North Metro Chorus so as a birthday gift, friends Sue Gibson and Wenda Bonshor surprised her with the trip. On the night North Metro were having their show, June Dale was told that Dorothy would be present in the audience. With perfect timing, June stopped the chorus halfway through the show and acknowledged Dorothy's presence. Dorothy was stunned. June asked her to stand up and give a wave and she received a standing ovation from the audience. Afterwards, Dorothy turned to her friends and said, "What a surprise that June Dale knew my name."  It was a magical night for her (and her friends).

Family, friends, and the Peace Arch Chorus gathered last week to celebrate Dorothy’s long life at an evening event where stories were told and songs were sung. One of her favourite songs from the chorus repertoire, Amazing Grace, was performed and when the room joined in, the resonance surely reached up to Heaven.



The Peace Arch Chorus was presented with an award, the Dorothy Hayes Memorial Award of Excellence, to be kept within the chorus and awarded during their Annual Retreat. The Chorus mascot from Dorothy’s active years has been revived and can be seen next to the award in this picture.

The group picture is from 2009 when Peace Arch Chorus won gold at the Regionals and came home to present Dorothy with her medal.